Humans are not able to perceive ultraviolet light, but several research studies have revealed that many insect species are able to see ultraviolet light due to the unique anatomical structure of insect eyes. This is why devices that control insect pest populations with UV light technology have become popular on television infomercials and in retail stores. For example, some products use UV light to lure insect pests into traps, and assessing the number of insect pests that become trapped in these devices may accurately indicate insect pest abundance in the environment. Other products of this sort aim to kill insect pests by using UV light to attract airborne pests toward electrified panels. Academic studies and market research has found that customized yellow light bulbs repel many airborne insect pest species, while traditional light bulbs have been shown to attract pest species. Light wavelengths can also be adjusted to attract or repel various insect pest species. While the effectiveness of many pest control products of this sort remain questionable, researchers consider the use of light wavelengths to control insect pest behaviors to be a fruitful area of study that will likely result in the development of many useful products in the future.

Some nocturnal insects can become a nuisance at night due to their attraction to outdoor artificial light sources, like porch lights and street lights. Many moths, mosquitoes and swarming termite pests are attracted to artificial light sources during the nighttime hours, and other nocturnal insects can become problematic at night whether they are attracted to outside lights or not. Recent research has found that artificial light sources can mimic the sun, and exposing nocturnal insect pests to these lights results in significant behavior alterations. When nocturnal insects are exposed to the natural sunlight they tend to slow their activity and seek out places to rest until dusk. When exposed to artificial light that mimic the sun during the nighttime hours, nocturnal insect pests cease all activity within a period of 15 minutes or less. Therefore, nighttime insect pest activity can be controlled with lights that mimic natural sunshine, and these lights could be effective at controlling certain mosquito species that bite humans after sundown. It may not be long before sun-mimicking light bulbs become commercially available for pest control purposes.

Do you use a yellow light bulb to repel insect pests from your property at night?